Jankowski, Renfroe, Rea prove farm is strong

Two here, third could be on the way

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Much was made of the state of the Padres farm system last spring when the Padres traded away such prospects as pitchers Matt Wisler and Joe Ross and infielders Trea Turner and Jace Peterson to retool the Major League offense.

Well, the Padres have already promoted two promising prospects to the parent club this season and a third could be on the way.

Both right-handed starting pitcher Colin Rea and center fielder Travis Jankowski appeared in their third game with the Padres in Sunday's 10-3 loss to the Cardinals at Petco Park.

Rea, 25, suffered his first Major League loss, allowing five runs (four earned) on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts in four innings. Rea is 2-1 after three starts with a 5.52 earned run average. He was the Padres 12thround pick in the 2011 draft out of Indiana State University.

The left-handed-hitting Jankowski, 24, went the opposite way to slap a pinch-hit single through the 5.5 hole, making him 5-for-9 as a Padre with three RBIs and two runs scored. Jankowski was the 44th overall pick of the 2012 draft out of New York's Stony Brook University.

Meanwhile, right fielder Hunter Renfroe, 23, the Padres first-round pick in the 2013 draft (13th overall) was 2-for-4 Sunday with a double and a home run with two runs scored for Triple-A El Paso. Renfroe is 8-for-22 (.364) with two doubles, five homers, eight RBIs and five runs scored for a .864 slugging percentage in five games since being promoted to El Paso from Double-A San Antonio.

I have been impressed with both Rea and Jankowski - both of whom advanced from San Antonio to El Paso and the Padres this season. And I am very intrigued by Renfroe, who could also complete the double jump if he joins the Padres early next month when the rosters are expanded.

Rea was 5-4 with a 1.95 earned run average in 18 starts at Double and Triple-A this season before being promoted to the Padres on Aug. 11. Jankowski hit a combined .335 with a .413 on-base percentage at AA/AAA this season with as many walks as strikeouts.

Speaking of Jankowski, Padres manager Pat Murphy said Sunday: "From what I see in this first look, this doesn't intimidate him. He knows who he is and what he needs to do."

If successful, Jankowski could be the Padres center fielder/leadoff man of the future. Rea projects to be a mid-rotation starter.

Rea gave up four first-inning runs Sunday after a pair of errors, including his own wild pick-off throw.

"I think the defensive miscues in the first made it tough for him," said Murphy. "He didn't have his best stuff. The errors made him vulnerable."

And Rea knew it. "I wasn't efficient today," said Rea. "I have to learn to get early contact to minimize pitches."


-- Sunday's loss to the Cardinals snapped a five-game winning streak, which also equaled the Padres longest winning streak of the season (previously July 11-20 around the All-Star break). The Padres were 5-1 on the homestand and 9-3 over the past 12 games.

-- I am intrigued about the continuing interest here about the medical condition of right-handed starting pitchers Brandon Morrow and Josh Johnson. Morrow had season-ending shoulder surgery last week and made the last of his five starts on May 1. Josh Johnson, who is scheduled to throw a simulated game later this week, has yet to pitch for the Padres in two seasons and is rehabbing from 2014 Tommy John surgery. Both are free agents at the end of the season and have no future ties to the Padres at the moment.

-- Matt Kemp's two-run single in the ninth inning Sunday extended his hitting streak to 15 straight games. He is hitting .361 during the streak (22-for-61) with four home runs and 17 RBIs. The streak includes the first cycle in Padres history. Kemp is hitting .315 (40-for-127) since the All-Star break with five doubles, a triple, seven homers and 29 RBIs to raise his batting average from .250 to .267.

-- If needed, catcher Derek Norris was available to pinch-hit Sunday after suffering a bruise just above the wrist on the inside of his left forearm Saturday night when crossed up on a pitch from right-handed reliever Kevin Quackenbush. Norris is listed as day-to-day, although Murphy expects he will play Tuesday night when the Padres open a six-game road trip in Washington. X-rays taken of the wrist were negative.